I guess to me, an enduro equals adventure. Typically, there is a wide range of terrain in an enduro event and that is attractive to me. The idea of covering lots of ground, having a few breaks here and there and seeing the landscape of a different place is something I look forward to each year. We did three National Enduros a couple years ago but that is the most I’ve done in any single year.
For the past three years, the National Enduro Promotions Group, or NEPG, has held a round up north of Muncie, Indiana but this year they went with the Black Coal venue down in Lynnville. Let me tell you, the terrain varies greatly between the flat farming land around Muncie and the scarred strip mining sites in South Indiana near Lynnville. Wide open areas that are rough as can be and covered with scrub grasses and useless little trees coupled with the roller coaster like hills in the older woods makes for an interesting riding experience.
I signed up for this particular enduro back on the evening of July 3rd while I was out in Idaho. The usual suspects were registered: Philip, Bo, Jesse and me. I really don’t like signing up that early but if you want a good row, it is a must. Row 47 has been kind to us all so once again that was my desired row selection and we got it!!
Unfortunately, Jesse just got a new job (congrats to him) and they wanted him to fly out of Lexington @ 5:50PM the same day as the race. He tried to get it switched but luck was not his friend so he bowed out gracefully. We all missed having him around that is for sure.
The first two people I thought to call when I learned he couldn’t go were Kyle and Jeff. Ended up that it was not in the cards for Kyle, but Jeff was able to fit it into his schedule and was pleased to go along. Knowing that they don’t allow row changes, we just decided that Jeff could be Jesse for the day. Jesse dropped off his AMA card and everything was good to go. I had paid for all the entries back in July so that was a sunk cost on my end and Jeff was the beneficiary. Jesse sent his “competition kit” info to Jeff so that he could truly impersonate him. The “kit” included an electric razor (so he could shave his head) and a thumb throttle. Alan said it was mandatory that Jeff use the “kit” but I don’t he liked the idea.
I got everything together for Philip and I on Friday evening and Saturday morning. We picked up Bo around noon and headed north and west towards Lynnville. Jeff had “kid duty” and had to drive up early on Sunday. He arrived at the venue before we got there and was ready to sign up when we got on site. None of us had any major issues getting registered but they did give Bo a hard time regarding his AMA card and exhaust but he worked it all out. Time to race!!
None of us knew what to expect but Test 1 started to shape our expectations of what the rest of the event may hold in store. Basically, it was in a wide open area that had been stripped. The ground was not smooth at all . . . very, very choppy. The course ran in and out of some tight tree sections and there were hundreds of turns. Things didn’t start out well in this test as the other guy on our row would NOT get out of the way. Bo put a motocross move on him and pushed him out in a corner but he would NOT let Philip and I pass him. Philip lost his front end in a corner and went down and I pulled right up on this guy and hounded him for at least a mile before he pulled over and let us go on. I had used every tactic I could get around him but he refused to budge. That sure didn’t help our time in that test. As was the case with every Test, Jeff beat us all quite handily. He makes it look easy. Philip came in just ahead of Bo and I dragged in after all of them.
Here we go again. Test 2 was just like Test 1. Very easy overall, but lots and lots of turns in open fields with very high grass on each side and a few little tight scrub woods sections thrown in here and there. I just can’t make good time in that stuff for some reason. The fact that I don’t use my brakes much really makes it difficult to make good time where there are lots of turns. Oh well, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! Once again, Jeff beat us all and was waiting at the beginning of the next test. Looks like Philip finished just ahead of Bo on this test once again.
At this point we all commented that the course was not quite what we expected. It was VERY easy up to this point. I swear that there wasn’t even a log laying across the trail. Some sections were so tight you’d have to squeeze between the trees but they were few and far between and typically that is where I do the best, in the tight stuff. Once again, nothing eventful happened and the Row 47 finishing order was still intact: Jeff, Philip, Bo, and Kent.
Now were talking!! The course was now transitioning a bit into some better woods sections, less field stuff, some off camber hillsides and lots of those little sections through the scrub trees. This is more like what I expected. I felt like I was doing fairly well and towards the end I came upon Philip. He had said he was tired at the start of the test and I could see it in how he was riding. We were about 1.5 miles from the end of the test and he let me around. So now the finishing order had been shuffled a bit: Jeff, Bo, Kent, and Philip. Bo and Philip were impressed with Jeff’s skill and the fact that he was doing all this on a 1998 RMX250. Gotta love it!!
We all went back to the truck before Test 5 and refueled our bodies a bit. I was getting low on gas but had enough for at least one more test but I suspected that I wouldn’t do Test 6 anyhow as my legs were starting to cramp. Not good. This problem has haunted me now for 3 years and it just won’t go away. Getting old?? Test 5 begins with a little climb and then immediately gets technical. Yes! This is what we’d be waiting for! I get about 1 mile in and realize that I can’t grab the front brake. My fingers won’t unfold off the grip. The next thing I know, my left leg starts to cramp. Geez!! The course is finally primo and I’m not able to put my full effort into it. Argh!! I backed it off a bit so that I could stay in control and then rode at a steady pace enjoying the course.
All day long some young guy on a KTM with Klim gear would pass me hauling the mail. I heard him coming and let him around. About 20 seconds later we come out on a beat up old logging road that is littered with big roots and large rocks. Well this kid hits the ground hard!! His bike goes one way and he the other. It looked really bad! I stopped and picked up his bike as it was nearly blocking the trail. He was down on his knees with his head on the ground. This is not good. I asked how he is and he said he’d hit his knee on one of those big rocks. He said he’d be okay and really thanked me for stopping. I got back on and finished out the Test. It was roller coaster city out there! Up, down, right, left. This was fun! The soil was good, it was technical, and the off camber stuff was everywhere!! Why couldn’t the whole course be like this?? Great fun and awesome job on the layout in this Test. Jeff beat us handily once again and Bo came in somewhere behind him. Philip didn’t even do the test as his hands were all blistered up so I rounded out the pack. I was done, Test 6 was not in the cards for me so I headed back to the staging area.
All I know about Test 6 is that Jeff said it was more of Test 5. Very cool!! My energy level just wouldn’t have allowed me to do that safely. Jeff made it back as we were finishing loading up and had a big grin on his face! He’d done well and he knew it! Hats off to him and the old RMX!
Little did we know, but Jeff (I mean Jesse) had pulled off a first place win his class! Very cool! The balance of Row 47 finished quite poorly within our respective classes be we all had a great time. That is what it is all about. Of course we’d all like to do better, but I’ll never get any faster and my conditioning is average at best. Treating it like a trail ride is basically what I do so at the end of the day its more about how much fun I had than how I did overall or in a particular test. Sure beats sitting at home on a Sunday watching some sports game on the tube. If you haven’t tried an enduro, do it!
Spotted at the Black Coal
There were several Kentucky folks there and some others from close by that race the KORHS series. Earl Coffey was there and parked beside us on Sunday. The “Sheriff” Thacker rode up with Harvey and Mr. Tucker tagged along on his new KTM 350. I ran into Jeff Green a couple times and saw him with Eric Gill at the beginning of Test 5.